Ask Yourself These Questions Before Switching to a SaaS Model

It is important to examine weaknesses, accountability and exit strategy when exploring the move to selling-as-a-service (SaaS).

We left off in August talking about the importance of selling-as-a-service (SaaS) to companies, but more importantly to customers that gain the benefits of security systems that are maintained at peak performance levels.

I shared my early days in sales and how our selling mindset, culture and compensation yielded the business goals my company valued — namely long-term RMR. While overall sales volume was always a good thing, you earned plaques for selling the most annual service charges, or RMR.

Why is RMR so darn important? RMR is the revenue calm in the stormy seas of the security business. While we can’t predict or affect things outside of our control like the economy, competitor’s tactics, fickle buying decisions or technology, we can mitigate their impact with contracts that include RMR components. The stronger and longer the better.

The good news is you have some help from other companies outside the security industry. How many services do you use today where you don’t really “own” the product delivered to you? I use quite a few such as Verizon, Netflix, Dropbox, Amazon, Microsoft 365 and Armstrong cable TV/Internet … notice that these are primarily technology and Cloud-driven services.

We do offer technology, remote diagnostic repairs and Cloud solutions in security, right?

Consumers like things simple, easy, fast and reasonably priced. How would you price out simple + easy + fast? I evaluate that equation from how easy it is to do business with, no “gotcha” pricing when I have little choice, and most importantly will it save me time and stress — life gives me too little of the first and too much of the latter!

Here’s an example. Most people I talk with loathe their cable provider. We love Armstrong. Why? Because they deliver the services we can count on for our business and home life, plus extraordinary customer service. They bundle and back up their services, so we buy more. That drives their RMR model.

When we experience a problem, they stay on the phone with us until it is fixed or a truck needs to be rolled. They innovate with technology to help build their RMR on stuff I really need.

For instance, they have this Defender 8 service that blocks robocalls — this has made our life so peaceful. Eliminating 15-20 calls a day for $2.50 a month? Hey, I’m in!

Perhaps it’s time to rethink how your company can innovate by employing SaaS and driving more RMR. Let’s continue with a few questions to ask yourself.

What weaknesses do you have that may hold you back?
The most frequent weakness is proper sales management and selling skills. The next is the ability to let go of the past to embrace the future vision. I tell our clients that it’s impossible to cross new streams when one foot won’t leave the security of the bank (your past). Change is tough, but often necessary. The first step is being honest with yourself and recognizing that fear and the status quo will help you rationalize your real weaknesses.

Will those that got you here be able to get you there?
I am by nature and with U.S. Marine Corps training a very loyal person; however, I am also calmly objective when faced with a crisis or important business decision. Arguably, one of the toughest evaluations is the people that work for and with you. As a company grows or has a new generation of leaders, evaluating the willingness of your team to want to make changes and their capability of adapting to changing roles is a challenging but necessary step to take.

Do you have a process- or people-based approach to defining accountability and results?
When talking with clients, we often find that job responsibilities, roles and results are molded around specific people’s longevity and loyalty, and not around sustainable processes. While we understand how companies grow and morph responsibilities toward specific people, they are rarely sustainable or resilient to change. What happens when that person no longer works for you? Who has been trained to fill that void? How will your customers be impacted? Focus more on processes that support cross training versus dependency on an individual.

When and how do you want to exit the business?
Most owners don’t want to think about retiring, but you should for many reasons. You poured your blood, sweat and tears into building your business; don’t you want to start crying on the golf course? Maybe after a few bad putts, but certainly not because you can’t afford the green fees tomorrow! Worse yet, you have to put your golf bag down and go back to work to make ends meet. Regardless how you plan to exit your business, consider serious contemplation, advice from trusted partners, and even some outside to make your vision become your legacy with customers.

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About the Author


Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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One response to “Ask Yourself These Questions Before Switching to a SaaS Model”

  1. Anna says:

    Awesome post, thanks for sharing.

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